Democrats in Washington are divided and somewhat puzzled over President Obama’s fading popularity. They reject, of course, the Republican view that the president is basically a closet Socialist whose disdain for free enterprise has alienated voters. But that’s about as far as the consensus goes.
In conversations over the past few weeks, some of the party’s leading strategists told me that it all comes down to messaging, or — here’s that ubiquitous word again — “framing.” The president who ran such a brilliant campaign, they argue, has utterly failed to communicate his successes. They cited factors like the president’s cool demeanor and suggested that he hadn’t used the right words or shown the proper empathy.
Seriously? They’re “puzzled?” It’s a problem of “framing?”
The last Democrat elected president won because he was able to effectively show how out-of-touch King George I and Republicans were with the economic problems experienced by the majority of Americans. Obama won partly because the economy cratered not long before the election, thanks to the financial shell game enabled by King George II and his fatcat buddies. Now, after some half-assed (and some spectacularly awful) attempts to fix things, people are wondering why Obama isn’t Mr. Popularity.
This administration is full of former Clintonites. Could they possibly be that stupid? IT’S THE FUCKING ECONOMY, YOU STUPID FUCKS!!! John Podesta, I’m talking to YOU:
Like other Democrats, Mr. Podesta, who now runs the liberal Center for American Progress and is arguably the most influential Washington Democrat not currently in government, assumes that many of the president’s struggles were unavoidable. Stubborn joblessness and anemic growth have thus far resisted intervention and defined the administration.
No, those things have not resisted intervention, because THERE HASN’T BEEN ENOUGH FUCKING INTERVENTION. The goddamn Blue Dogs have managed to water down every meaningful proposal, and have allied themselves with the know-nothing, do-nothing Republicans. The White House hasn’t push hard enough to get things passed. And assholes like Geithner and Summers have won out in the influence game over people like Romer and Warren.
Mr. Obama’s central strategy was to concentrate on cajoling Democratic lawmakers into passing a series of bills — the stimulus package, the health care overhaul, a new set of financial regulations. Rather than spend a lot of time rallying public support for the agenda, Mr. Podesta said, the administration expected to get an “updraft” from an improving economy; the bet was that, as unemployment came down and consumer confidence rose, public opinion would more or less take care of itself.
“That strategy was built on the no-economic-stall option,” Mr. Podesta said. “In other words, the idea was that you didn’t have to get the unemployment rate to a certain number, but you had to get unemployment going in the right direction, and people would feel that, and it would be palpable.”
The problem, as Mr. Podesta says, is that “we’re all still waiting for that.”
And so, without the modest economic revival Mr. Obama and his aides expected, voters saw trillions of dollars being spent and wondered whether there was a coherent strategy for growth. Mr. Obama, whose skills as an explainer were so instrumental in winning the office, did little sustained explaining of the crisis outside Washington.
Yes, that’s the problem – Obama didn’t “explain” things well enough. What part of “results-oriented populace” don’t these idiots understand? No amount of explaining is going to amount to a hill of beans unless the policies you are explaining actually worked.
Yes, there have been big legislative accomplishments. The stimulus package helped stave off another depression. But it wasn’t big enough to address all of the problems, and money still isn’t being spent on crucial infrastructure projects. We have health care reform. But without a public option, there is no pressure on insurers, hospitals, or Big Pharma to keep costs down. We have financial reform, but without any teeth, and without a robust Consumer Protection agency with someone like Elizabeth Warren in charge, nothing much is going to change for the banksters. Thanks to all of these half-assed measures, Republicans have been given the opening to say, “See? All that gubmint money being spent, and none of it is doing any good!”
And things are getting worse. The failure of HAMP means that foreclosures will continue to rise, and bankruptcies will go through the roof. Meanwhile, democrats will work on their “framing,” Republicans will scream about “socialism” and Muslims building mosques, and everything will continue to swirl down the toilet bowl and into the sewer. Heckuva job.